Governmental and business responses continue to change daily in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The reason is obvious: you have a global situation that nobody planned for which is in a continual state of flux. Among the sane voices weighing in on what to do, many smart people across fields are trying to interpret history, current data, and projected scenarios to make recommendations and decisions. They naturally arrive at different strategies relative to what they think the right things to do are.

As we created our business continuity planning eBook for COVID-19 (which is still a timely resource weeks / month into the pandemic), we looked to the idea of breaking large, sweeping situations into smaller, more familiar components. Taking this approach for developing strategies before, during, and even after a disruptive event offers an accessible starting point for dealing with an unforeseen situation.

5 Productive Analogies for Developing Strategies Amid COVID-19

analogies develop strategies covid-19

Here are five productive analogies we employed in our initial thinking. They can be a help to you as you are developing strategies to continue fleshing out your response now and in the near future:

  1. A labor strike: During a labor strike, operational capabilities within an organization might be shut down. Perhaps it winds up selling from inventory and/or redeploying non-striking employees to perform new tasks. Non-striking companies will try to poach customers and maximize the opportunity. Those that do so in smart, balanced ways can gain a post-disruption advantage. Of course, if they take on more business than they can handle, they run the risk of faring as poorly as a company that is facing a strike.
  2. Following a blizzard or hurricane warning: In an area that's about to undergo a major weather disruption, people stream to stores to load up on supplies. While many people pay attention and act on official warnings, some ignore the admonitions and suffer the consequences. Even those who do follow official guidance can still lose life and property.
  3. A corporate travel freeze: During periods of intense cost control, companies often eliminate travel budgets. To keep the business going, anyone who was previously going to travel must find other ways to collaborate and move forward to accomplish their objectives.
  4. Boston, following the Boston Marathon bombing: In the aftermath of the tragic bombing, the city shut down for several days to track, locate, and neutralize the perpetrators. Because of the great importance of the public interest, businesses and individuals were forced to stay in place with little notice so that officials could do their work without distraction.
  5. Dramatic sales changes: Whether it's a period of dramatic sales growth or a precipitous decline, major swings in sales activity create challenges. Sales surges can lead to inventory mismatches, stock outs, price increases, and dissatisfied customers whose product expectations go unmet. Major sales declines create significant issues in managing excess inventory, controlling costs, and right-sizing the company given its very different revenue opportunities.

What past experiences and analogies will be productive for developing strategies as your organizational prospects continue to change?

If you want to chat (for free) about the possibilities and tap into our team’s thinking, contact us, and let’s get time right away to share ideas.

Want to involve your remote team for their perspectives and ideas for developing strategies? A Blast! online collaboration will turn thirty minutes into the most productive team meeting you’ve had in forever and get your newly-remote team actively engaged in positive, forward-looking thinking. – Mike Brown

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